Posted inArts & Culture

In Print: Uncle Sam on the skids

Not long after John Lennon’s death in 1980, an earnest 16-year-old from LaGrange named Steve Darnall visited a local forum on gun control. While speaking to a woman legislator, Darnall began to cry, apologizing for becoming so emotional. The woman told him not to be embarrassed, because the world needs more people with strong feelings. […]

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Send in the Clowns

Ivanov European Repertory Company By Justin Hayford If you had only one minute to understand Chekhov, you couldn’t do better than one tiny moment in the first act of European Repertory Company’s Ivanov. The title character–a bankrupt landowner struggling with debilitating ennui–kills time in the garden with his misanthropic uncle, Count Shabyelski, his scheming estate […]

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Dear Master

DEAR MASTER, Writers’ Theatre Chicago. “I am not asking you to change your eyes; I am asking you to see more,” George Sand says to Gustave Flaubert in Dorothy Bryant’s Dear Master, a dialogue in letters between the two great French novelists. Bryant’s adaptation of their 20-year correspondence challenges the audience to “see more” through […]

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No End of Blame

NO END OF BLAME, TimeLine Theatre Company, at the Flat Iron Building. Politically ardent British playwright Howard Barker pays dark tribute to Hungarian cartoonist Bela Veracek (1898-1973), a ruthless chaser of truth and freedom and foe of nationalism and ideology. Running afoul of censors on both the right and left, Veracek eventually succumbed to madness: […]

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Dial 10-10-Y2K

Dial 10-10-Y2K, at Strawdog Theatre Company. For the predominantly young audiences whose appetites for sketch comedy are seemingly boundless, a midnight show in March may be a great idea. Indeed, ImprovOlympic and Annoyance regularly offer graveyard-shift amusement to Clark Street pub crawlers. But Dial 10-10-Y2K–a one-hour comedy revue written and performed by Paul Preston and […]

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Life During Wartime

LIFE DURING WARTIME, Firstborn Productions, at the Chopin Theatre. Keith Reddin doesn’t leave much to the imagination; a master manipulator, he refuses to leave any questions unanswered. His characters display their emotions and intentions plainly. And though his dark, perverse sense of humor is often appealing, he gets too wrapped up in moral issues and […]

Posted inMusic

Ray Drummond’s All-Star Excursion Band

RAY DRUMMOND’S ALL-STAR EXCURSION BAND Bassist Ray Drummond’s heavy swing and sprightly solos have made him one of the most recorded sidemen in recent history, but the band he leads would probably sound great even without him. Mature young pianist Stephen Scott can summon depth, even electricity, onstage (his newest CD, Vision Quest, finally captures […]

Posted inMusic

Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos

MARC RIBOT Y LOS CUBANOS POSTIZOS Chicago audiences have had the opportunity to hear a lot of genuine Cuban music in the last few years–from original son revivalists Sierra Maestra to modern masters like Los Van Van and Vocal Sampling–so why bother with a small New York combo that proudly calls itself “the fake Cubans”? […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories The Louisville Courier-Journal reported in February that the Louisville Free Public Library is contesting the will of the late Audrey Jean Knauer over a $290,000 bequest. Knauer died in 1997 and inexplicably willed her money to Charles Bronson, whom she had never met but called a “talented character actor.” Knauer’s mother and the […]

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Elvis Presley Was A Black Man

ELVIS Presley WAS A BLACK MAN, Black Ensemble Theater. Maybe he was. Though Jackie Taylor–who wrote, directed, and choreographed this two-hour homage–is not talking about “the color of his skin but the hue of his soul,” as one of her characters puts it. Taylor is less interested in Elvis’s admitted debt to African-American culture than […]

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Pleasures Great and Small

Ruth Page Dance Series at Northeastern Illinois University, February 25-28 Being in Dreaming Tyego Dance Project at the Athenaeum Theatre, February 26-27 and March 14 By Terry Brennan Should pleasures be large or small? Epic or miniaturist? Operatic or minimalist? Because I distrust American pop culture and its emphasis on the big and powerful, I […]

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Petty Crime

January 27, 12:15 AM, 2400 block of North Lincoln. Criminal damage to property. Two guys outside bar were mooning patrons. They slammed butts against window, which shattered. Manager chased offenders and caught one. Police arrived and arrested him. February 3, 5:25 PM, 900 block of West Addison. Robbery. Man snatched $10 bill from elderly man […]